Fine and Gross Motor Skills: Birth-12 Months


A baby’s first year is a time of amazing transition. At birth, your baby can do little more than look around, nurse and move hands and feet. Near their first birthday, expect them to be an active crawler—maybe even starting to take steps—playing with rattles and toys, and transitioning toward drinking from a cup. Here’s what you might expect:

0–3 Months

  • Focus eyes on objects about 12 inches away
  • Raise head when lying on their stomach
  • Jump at loud noises
  • Smile back when you smile at them 
  • Watch their own hands move
  • Hold a rattle for a few minutes

3–6 Months

  • Kick their feet and wave arms when they see or hear someone they know
  • Reach for toys or people
  • Roll over
  • Turn toward a familiar voice
  • Hold head steady
  • Notice small objects
  • Push up with arms while on their stomach
  • Sit up straight with help
  • Begin to focus on patterns in black and white

6–9 Months

  • Sit up without help
  • Stand up while holding onto your hands
  • Stand up on your lap and bounce
  • Recognize a familiar voice
  • Start to crawl around and may pull up on furniture
  • Eat a cracker by themselves 
  • Play pat-a-cake
  • Play with their hands and feet
  • Pick up cereal (such as Cheerios) and try to put in mouth

9–12 Months

  • Crawl, climb, cruise (moving about while holding on to supporting objects, furniture, etc.)
  • Begin steps toward walking alone
  • Explore and handle objects: wave, shake, twist, turn, squeeze, poke and even put them in their mouth
  • Crawl while holding a toy
  • Pick up small objects between thumb and one or two fingers (although not with ease)
  • Take steps alone; walk like a robot
  • Pull string to get the toy at the other end
  • Move a toy from one hand to the other
  • Hold two toys at the same time; maybe hit them together
  • Crawl up stairs
  • Walk if one or both hands are held
  • Pull self up to stand and move while holding on to furniture (cruising)
  • Start drinking from a plastic drinking cup instead of a bottle